Anti-government protesters broke the windows of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council on Monday (Jul 1) and tried to force their way into the building by hitting a metal trolley through the glass doors, as police reacted with pepper spray.
At 6.36pm on Monday, the Legislative Council Secretariat issued a red alert calling for “all people” to leave the complex quickly.
The angry scenes ramped up tensions in the international financial hub, which has been shaken by historic demonstrations in the past three weeks – driven by demands for the withdrawal of a Bill that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland. Democracy activists kicked off another large march through the city on Monday afternoon.
But that rally was overshadowed by small groups of mainly young, masked protesters who had seized three key streets in the morning, sparking renewed clashes with police after two weeks of relative calm.
Protesters wearing helmets and masks smashed windows at the city’s legislature and tried to force their way into the building by ramming a metal trolley through reinforced glass doors.
Riot police inside the building wore gas masks as they squirted pepper spray at protesters, who unfolded umbrellas to protect themselves.
Some Democratic legislators tried to interrupt but had little luck convincing the protesters to withdraw.
The fresh wave of protests on the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule has plunged the city into further turbulence.
Earlier on Monday, thousands of demonstrators faced off with riot police who fired pepper spray to separate some of them.
Thirteen police officers were taken to hospital after protesters hurled objects containing an “unknown liquid” earlier on Monday morning, Hong Kong police declared in a statement.
“During the road blockade and charging of police cordon lines by protestors at Lung Wo Road, Tim Mei Avenue, and Harcourt Road, some protestors hurled objects containing unknown liquid at police officers at about 9.30am,” stated the statement.
“Police officers at the scene were injured and among them, some experienced difficulty in breathing and had swollen and itchy skin.”
They were finally taken to a hospital for treatment.